Watch Aerosmith's Emotional Reunion With Band's Long-Lost Touring Van
By Andrew Magnotta @AndrewMagnotta
July 11, 2019
The van that carried Aerosmith around the country in the band's early years is back where it belongs after being discovered last year rotting into a Massachusetts forest.
History channel's American Pickers Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz bought the van last year and got it working again, returning it to the condition it was in when Aerosmith last owned it.
Wolfe told Billboard in a new interview that he and Fritz immediately contacted Aerosmith to see if the band was interested in getting the van back. He said he was surprised to learn how excited Aerosmith was about the vehicle, so History brought cameras to film the band members' reactions.
You can watch the reunion play out in the clip embedded above or here.
"Holy s--t," exclaimed drummer Joey Kramer after seeing the van for the first time in four decades. The feeling was mutual, as what was initially scheduled to be a 45-minute rendezvous turned into two hours as each band member grappled with the blast from their past.
The band members marveled that the artwork and band logo painted on the side of the vehicle survived all the years in the woods. American Pickers opted to restore the van to the condition it was in when Aerosmith last rode inside it, as opposed to what it would have been brand new.
One of the most significant moments came when Wolfe opened and closed the sliding driver side door. The sound of the door brought back a flood of memories, with Steven Tyler rushing to the driver side to hear the door work again.
"There's two sounds that I remember," guitarist Joe Perry said of the band's early years, after hearing the door. "One is the tape rewinding in the studio, and that [door]."
Wolfe, a lifelong Aerosmith fan, admitted he had been stressed about what to say to his heroes. But their reaction to seeing the van was so authentic and human, it made all the crew members feel comfortable.
"The fact that they had such a strong connection to it says a lot about their character and honoring their past," he told Billboard. "Those guys have lived a thousand lives, you know? That they all were interested in it was huge. It wasn't just one of them, it was all of them as a group f---ing beyond excited about it."
Aerosmith apparently lost the van after a falling out with its owner, Mark Lehman, their old driver and live sound man. The band recalled Lehman fondly, with Kramer noting that he always went above and beyond and made sure the van was in good working order.
"We spent a lot of time and hours traveling in this box and it looks and feels the same," Kramer added.
The band piled into the van and began telling stories of the old days.
"I can't remember a time when we were left stuck; it always ran," Perry said. "Mark took such good care of it."
"He kept this thing really well, and looking back of course I think, Mark Lehman was our savior," Tyler agreed, before saying the band hoped to bring Lehmen "back into the picture" after 40 years apart.
Photo: YouTube / History